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Health Reform Stalemate; Police Link Lab Tech to Yale Student Murder; Inflation in Check; Suspicious Votes in Afghanistan; Stocks at New 2009 Highs

Aired September 16, 2009 - 09:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Late breaking developments in the case of a graduate student's killing. Police take a Yale employee into custody and then release him.

Does racism play a role? Former president Jimmy Carter says many attacks against President Obama are based on his skin color.

And allegations of cemetery desecration. An ex-worker tells us how he broke burial vaults to make room for new ones.

Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. It is September 16, Wednesday, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

An awful lot to get to this morning. Of course, the battle over health care reform, actually a new development in the stalemate. Next hour, a long-awaited version of health care reform, a senator is going to talk a little bit more about what's inside that. So we'll have it for you.

Also CNN's Brianna Keilar is taking an early look at what it does have and what it doesn't. So we'll clear that up for you.

And finally Mary Snow is going to have the latest on the Yale murder case that we've been talking about for a couple of days now. Police are narrowing their focus and search for evidence.

Here's a look first though at the newest health reform bill about to be unveiled. It is the long-awaited version from Senator Max Baucus. It comes after months of negotiations within the Gang of Six, but so far has not brought together the two parties.

The three Republicans negotiators reportedly are not happy with some parts of the bill even before its release. The proposed bill also faces opposition from some liberal Democrats.

Now the measure drops the government option and instead calls for co-ops to compete with private insurance companies. What does all of that mean?

Let's get right to Capitol Hill and congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar.

So, Brianna, good morning to you. When are we actually going to see the bill and what's inside it? BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're going to see the bill at 10:00 a.m. This is the bill put forth by Senator Baucus, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, and at this point those Republicans in the Gang of Six, Heidi, as you mentioned, not on board yet. So that is key.

We're expecting at noon he's going to be having a news conference. We expect him to be alone, not with those members of the Gang of Six. And then after that, his staff is going to be briefing reporters like myself. So we have a whole hunt going on here...


KEILAR: ... today on the Hill. It's going to be a bit of a whirlwind so just hang in there with us. But, you know, right now already we know some of what is in it. There's, of course, the hallmark of this plan, the non-profit the health cooperative plan governed by patients who -- are served by the co-ops.

Also this includes expanding Medicaid so that more low income Americans are covered by that. How do you pay for this, how do you foot the bill here? There is a tax on those Cadillac plans, those high-end insurance plans that insurance companies are supposed to pay.

And there are also billions of dollars in fees on the health care industry, for instance, insurers, medical device makers.


KEILAR: That sort of thing. But the broad details here already causing some issues from both the left and the right. For instance, liberal Democrats, Heidi, they of course don't like that there is no public option in this because this health co-op, let's be clear, is not a public option, it's not a government-run insurance plan.

And also they're afraid that it's not big enough to really help some of those low income and middle class Americans afford insurance without really straining their budgets. Then on the flip side you talk to someone like Chuck Grassley, senator from Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and he has a concern that this package is too big. You know, he would like to pare it down a little bit.

So at this point, Heidi, you can see it's getting the squeeze from both sides. And we still have yet to see if there's going to be bipartisan support.

COLLINS: Yes. I certainly hear what you're saying. In fact, if the bill is going to be out in an hour I got to wonder how members are still negotiating this.

KEILAR: Well, they say that they're staying at the table. That this is not the do or die day. Senator Baucus putting out this bill today so that those members of the Senate Finance Committee who do want to propose changes which is what we're going to be seeing votes on in the committee next week, Heidi, so they can go ahead and do that.

But really, today not the do-or-die moment. They're saying that we expect will be at the end of this whole committee process next week when they have a vote on the final bill after it's gone through that amendment process.

COLLINS: All right. Well, either way, Brianna Keilar, you are going to have a very busy day ahead of you.

KEILAR: Oh yes.

COLLINS: Sure do appreciate it on Capitol Hill this morning.

And -- so a lot of people I think are still wondering what exactly is the Gang of Six. You just saw the picture there. It's actually made up of three Democrats and three Republicans from the Senate Finance Committee, all are considered moderates in their parties and most have reputations for skill to compromise.

Now here's the breakdown. The Republican senators are Olympia Snowe of Maine, Charges Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. The Democrats are Max Baucus of Montana, Jack Bingaman of New Mexico and Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

Make sure you stay with us, in fact, for complete coverage of the health care battle and this latest plan that we are going to be hearing about, sure to stir up some more debate today. We'll keep our eye on it for you very closely.

The congressman who heckled President Obama and said he was lying about health care reform has been formally scolded by fellow lawmakers. The House formally admonished South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson for the outburst during President Obama's address to Congress last week.

Wilson shouted "You lie!". Wilson later apologized to the president but refused to apologize to Congress. The vote was mostly along party lines.

Former President Jimmy Carter says racism is playing a role not only in the health care debate but the sometimes blistering criticism of the Obama presidency.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that African-Americans ought not to be president and ought not to be given the same respect as if he were white.

And this has permeated politics ever since I've been involved in it back in the 1960s. You wouldn't hear one of those members of the British parliament saying that about (INAUDIBLE), who's a head of state. In our country it's different. The president is not only the head of state. And no matter who he is or how much you disagree with the policies, he ought to be treated with respect in an official forum like a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

I think it was a (INAUDIBLE) thing to do and it was so bad that it should be corrected by overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans in the (INAUDIBLE).


COLLINS: The man behind the group Tea Party Express brushed off the comments. Mark Williams said it was just another stupid comment from the former president.

New developments to tell you about this morning surrounding the killing of a Yale University graduate student. Overnight, police released a Yale employee who had been in custody.

CNN's Mary Snow is joining us now from New Haven, Connecticut with more on this.

Mary, good morning to you. What's the very latest at this point?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Heidi. His name is Raymond Clark. He's 24 years old. He is a lab technician at Yale University, and police are being very careful calling him a person of interest, not a suspect. And he was taken into custody last night.

This as police say they took physical evidence from him, DNA samples, things like swabs from saliva, samples of hair, finger nails. And as they did that, police also executed a search warrant at Raymond Clark's home in Middletown, Connecticut and there they searched his apartment.

He was expected to be released last night as he was if he cooperated with authorities. Police are saying what they're trying to do now is take those samples, see if they match any of the evidence they have already seized. And they say that they have seized 150 pieces of evidence.

And they say by the end of the week they will be able to determine whether or not he will be arrested or he will be cleared. But they're also saying that they are continuing this investigation, that they don't want to have tunnel vision in their words.


SNOW: And that they are continuing to look to see if there are any other potential suspects.

COLLINS: OK. Curious, though, do we have any idea why they targeted him specifically?

SNOW: Yes, they would not elaborate on his connection with Annie Le but we know that he worked in the same building where Annie Le's body was found. It was restricted access to that building. And they did say that he has been under surveillance for several days.

COLLINS: Wow. All right, well, Mary Snow covering that story for us. Mary, thanks so much live from Connecticut this morning.

To this now, rising gas prices fuel inflation last month. New numbers last hour, and we'll break them down for you and what they mean to you.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And I'm Rob Marciano in the CNN Severe Weather Center. Another day of rain in the south, plus there's a super typhoon in the Pacific. We'll show you those pictures when the CNN NEWSROOM comes right back.


COLLINS: Talking about the economy now. Consumer price numbers we got just last hour show inflation remained mostly in check last month.

Christine Romans is joining me now with more on this. We start talking about these things and I think some people get a little lost in all of it. So many numbers coming at us.


COLLINS: So, many economic reports. Lay this one out for us.

ROMANS: OK, Consumer Prices, Heidi. This is what you and I pay at the restaurant, at the grocery store, at the gas station.


ROMANS: These are the prices that really matter to our wallet. They were, as you say, in check. And why is that? Because consumers are being picky about what they buy and that means that retailers and producers can't really raise prices very easily because we won't buy it. So they're not raising prices.

CPI up 0.4 percent. The core CPI, that when you take out food and energy -- those are more volatile -- only up 0.1 percent. So, that's a very small move there.

Within these numbers, you saw the prices we pay for cars down 1.3 percent. That's because of the discounts for the Cash for Clunkers. This is all for the month of August. So what you're paying for a car went down. But what you're paying at the gas pump went up.

Gas prices were actually up 9 percent in the month, so all of these different things that you're doing on a daily basis, they feel differently to you but overall, Consumer Prices, you take out food and energy, up about 0.1 percent.

COLLINS: OK. Well, the Fed chief yesterday said the recession is very likely over. What was the reaction to all of that?

ROMANS: He said in the technical sense.


ROMANS: And in a technical sense, that feels good, right, that the recession is probably over? But we...

COLLINS: I know. I feel like I still need to be on the defense.

ROMANS: Yes, and it's why because we're scarred. We're scarred of what's happened over the past year. And a lot of people are still out of a job. 9.7 percent unemployment. In a technical sense, the recession can be over but if you don't have a job it doesn't feel like it to you.

And the Fed chief basically said that. He said that the jobless rate would continue to rise and it would come down very slowly. So he's acknowledging that how we feel might not correspond with what the numbers are going to tell us about the overall economy.

Now him also saying that the recession is likely over, the stock market, Heidi, has been telling us that for sometime, the stock market, we call it a leading indicator.


ROMANS: Look at this bull run here from 2009. Even yesterday stocks hit a new high for the year. They're up pretty dramatically. And what the stock market has been telling us is exactly what Ben Bernanke told us, the Fed chief yesterday, that the worst of the crisis is behind us, the dust has settled. And people are starting to make decisions based on facts, again, not just on panic.


ROMANS: One last thing about the CPI numbers. You know you made a really interesting comment that sometimes all these numbers get kind of jumbled up. This CPI is what a Social Security cost of living increase is tied to. It hasn't been moving up very much.

Seniors should be prepared for very little or no cost of living increase next year in their Social Security check. They had a good run-up last year because we had rising numbers because of gas prices. But this year inflation has been so tamed that means there won't be -- most likely there won't be a bump up for people in their Social Security cost of living check.

COLLINS: OK. All right. Well, we sure appreciate the breakdown. Making it all make sense. Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: Bye-bye.

COLLINS: Let's head over to the Severe Weather Center now where we find Rob Marciano this morning.

Good morning to you. What are you looking at there?


MARCIANO: Well, you know, you're a weather geek, too, Heidi.

COLLINS: I am at heart. You know you're absolutely right. Super typhoons. Love it.

MARCIANO: It got to be 150 miles an hour or greater. So it's no small feat to be a super typhoon.



COLLINS: Not at all. All right, Rob. We'll check back later. Thank you.

MARCIANO: You got it.

COLLINS: More allegations of Afghan election fraud. Now international observers are weighing in with word that well over a million votes could be bogus.


COLLINS: Now for a quick check of our "Top Stories." Ohio's governor granted a one-week reprieve for a death row inmate because the execution team couldn't find a vein to administer the lethal injection. They tried on unsuccessfully for two hours. Romell Broom was convicted of raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl in 1984.

The California man accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard may be linked to two other abductions. Two hours from now investigators plan to begin searching once again Phillip Garrido's home and property. Searchers are looking for possible evidence in the disappearance of two girls in the 1980s.

A round of applause in the parliament for Japan's new prime minister. Yukio Hatoyama was elected earlier this morning. His party swept to victory on promises to end the country's deep recession. Hatoyama says he's looking forward to working with President Obama.

Most Americans feel news organizations can't get the facts straight. In fact, a new poll taken by the Pew Research Center finds the public's assessment of the accuracy of news stories is at a two- decade low. 63 percent of respondents say news stories are often inaccurate, that's up from 53 percent in 2007, and 34 percent back in 1985.

Next hour we're going to be talking about this a little bit deeper into the decline in media trust with Howard Kurtz of "The Washington Post" and CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."

But before we always want to know what you think. And we'd like to pose some of your thoughts to Howard when he comes on to discuss this. Do you trust the news media? And tell us why or why not. Just go ahead and head over to my blog,, and you will see a little bit more about the survey, some of the statistics there, and then our question. Do you trust the news media? And tell us why or why not.

Canada's prime minister traveling south today to visit with President Obama. Topping their agenda, trade and the economy ahead of this month's G-20 meeting.

Stephen Harper tells CTV he'll bring up the so-called Buy American clause in the U.S. stimulus plan. It makes sure that American made products are used for infrastructure projects funded with federal money. Some consider that protectionism.

Be sure to catch "STATE OF THE UNION" when John King welcomes President Obama as a guest.

Around a million and a half suspicious votes. That's international observers are saying now about Afghanistan's presidential election.

CNN's Atia Abawi is joining us now live from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Atia, good morning to you. I know you've been following this for quite sometime.

ATIA ABAWI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Heidi. The EU Election Observers Mission is the latest to talk about these elections that seem to be on going, the election taking place on August 20th but still no result.

They are saying that massive fraud occurred. They are pointing to 1.5 million suspicious votes. And when you dissect the numbers, they say that 1.1 million of those votes went to President Karzai, around 300,000 going to his main rival.

Let's listen to what the chief observer has to say because he said that this is up to the Afghans, they're just observing.


PHILLIPE MORILLON, EU CHIEF ELECTION MONITOR: We will not make the choice of your next president but we refuse to be complicit of any attempt of massive fraud.


ABAWI: Well, Heidi, no one wants massive fraud right now when it comes to the election but it's a little too late for that. But President Karzai's campaign, learning about this presser, learning about the findings and stating that it is partial, it's irresponsible, and they say it goes against the Afghan constitution and in fact that the EU observers should have been talking to the Electoral Complaints Commission because that's what's in the Afghan constitution.

Obviously, President Karzai's campaign not very happy. They are in the lead now but 1.1 million votes in question that wants a President Hamid Karzai. Heidi?

COLLINS: Yes. So, I mean when is this all going to be cleared up? When are we going to see some final votes?

ABAWI: That's the ultimate question that everyone is asking, whether it be the Afghans or the international community, no one knows right now. We do expect that final preliminary results to be announced today but those aren't the final results at all.

Investigations are still under way. The complaints commission still auditing and recounting votes from over 2,500 different polling stations so no matter what happens in the end, many people are questioning is this election process, is it even credible, can the Afghan people really trust in the system after this? Heidi?

COLLINS: Yes. Understand. All right, Atia Abawi, coming to us from Kabul, Afghanistan this morning. Thanks so much, Atia.

Allegations of grave desecration. A former cemetery worker tells us he personally broke oppose crypts and dumped bones, all on orders from his bosses. It's a CNN Special Investigation.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins.

COLLINS: Stocks moved higher yesterday on a gang buster retail sales report and Ben Bernanke's view that the recession is over. Well, today, we have another economic report for investors as we await that opening bell this morning.

Susan Lisovicz is, of course, waiting for that bell along with us and has more details now on how the actual trading day is going to look.

Yes, what about all this stuff with Ben Bernanke saying the recession is most likely over, over? What do you think?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he said technically the recession is most likely over. But he said it's going to be a weak recovery. In other words...

COLLINS: Yes. Long.

LISOVICZ: The recession may be over but we may not feel it. That's basically what he was saying. But it was enough. It was a stronger assessment of where we are right now. So Heidi, those comments from the Fed chief and the retail sales numbers which were actually gang busters sent both U.S. and Asian stocks to new 2009 highs.

And today, we expect to see the rally continue. As Christine mentioned earlier, new reports show inflation is in check, consumer prices rose just under a half percent last month. That's largely because of higher gas prices. But over the past year, remember, prices are down by 1.5 percent.

Here's the opening bell. We have more news for you. The nation's largest poultry producer has found a buyer. Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride is selling majority steaks to Brazilian meat processing company JBS and a deal valued at nearly $3 billion.

Pilgrim's Pride filed for bankruptcy last year because of mounting debts and high feed prices. And fierce competition has forced Blockbuster Video to close nearly 1,000 stores by the end of next year. Netflix and Red Box have for sales...


LISOVICZ: ... at the nation's top video rental company. And you can see that one coming.

Well, we can also see green arrows in the first seconds of trading. The Dow, the NASDAQ, the S&P 500 up by at least a fifth of a percent and finally, Heidi, did you see who rang the opening bell?

COLLINS: You know what, I missed it today.

LISOVICZ: This Bud...

COLLINS: I was...

LISOVICZ: This Bud is for you, Miss Collins. B-U...

COLLINS: You know, I love these guys. They make a gluten-free beer.


Redbridge at (INAUDIBLE). Anything else?

LISOVICZ: Well, Bud is back on the big board, Heidi. Last year Belgium's InBev which makes Stella Artois, also Beck's Beer, bought Anheuser-Busch. It moved its primary stock listing to Brussels. Look at all those Bud cans go.

But, today, the world's largest brewer will once again trade here at the NYSE under the former Anheuser-Busch symbol. But it will continue to trade in Europe under the symbol "ABI". Bud shares, I don't see anything happening just yet.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Well, we'll continue --

LISOVICZ: They're flat. Oh, we don't want that to happen. But I don't see anything.

COLLINS: No, we don't want to stock beer, that's for sure.

All right. We got to get off this.

Susan Lisovicz, thanks so much. We'll check back next hour.

To this story now.

Allegations of grave tampering. A new lawsuit claims graves were dug up at a prominent Los Angeles cemetery with the remains from as many as 500 graves being moved to make room for new customers. This is the same cemetery where legendary comedians Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce are buried. CNN's special investigations unit correspondent Abbie Boudreau is joining me now with more on this.

Wow, it's quite a story and it's reminiscent, of course, of the other story we've heard about in Chicago.

ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. And these details that we're learning -- I mean, allegations are gruesome. This lawsuit alleges that workers at Eden Memorial Park desecrated graves for years. It's a story CNN broke. And now a long time former employee is coming forward to reveal what he said he did there.


BOUDREAU: (voice-over): This long-time former employee, Mateo Ruelas Garcia, says he was told to break concrete burial vaults to make room for new ones at Eden Memorial Park. He tells CNN just what he would throw away.

GARCIA: Cement pieces, sometimes a little piece of bones -- bones, for the next person were in the dump and trash away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes skulls?


BOUDREAU: Garcia explains how a salesman would tell him to break the vaults in secret.

GARCIA: And he would go like this and look, and say, oh, break this piece, break this piece. And I'd tell him, you're we're not supposed to break. And he'd say, go ahead, nobody can see. Go ahead and do that.

BOUDREAU: Using a backhoe, Garcia says he and other workers would break through the cement vaults.

GARCIA: I just broke one piece for the cement -- for the person right there, just a piece of cement, the body inside. And we see the person then because we broke it.

BOUDREAU: Garcia says he would take the remains to a large dirt hole at the cemetery, where nobody could see what was going on.

GARCIA: When the peoples go there, families around, you know, we stop, because they always say stop, guys, when you see somebody coming. No do nothing.

BOUDREAU: Similar allegations are made in a lawsuit filed against Eden Memorial and its owner Service Corporation International. They include claims of secretly breaking and opening buried caskets, dumping human remains and selling burial plots without actually having the space -- all to make more money. Garcia says breaking up the burial plots was common practice for the last 10 of the 28 years he worked at Eden Memorial. He was fired in 2008. He says he wasn't given a reason. A Service Corporation International spokesperson says he was fired for cause, but declined to give details. In a statement, the company says: "Allegations against Eden Memorial Park have surfaced as a result of a recently filed class action lawsuit. While very salacious, these allegations are just that -- allegations." It says: "Eden Memorial conducts extensive training with its employees and we support that with strict policies and procedures."

Garcia says he was only doing what he was told by supervisors.

GARCIA: No matter what happened in there, bones and everything, you guys go ahead and do the job. They pay me. I'm working. I do anything they told me.


BOUDREAU: A spokesman for California's Cemetery and Funeral Bureau says the agency will look into the allegations raised in the lawsuit. The cemetery did get a warning letter last year after the state found that five graves had been disturbed. But there was no evidence that it was done intentionally.

COLLINS: I'm stunned. I was stunned when we talked about, you know, the Illinois case, stunned about this one. But, really, when we spoke to that particular gentleman, I mean, he just said, well, this is what we did, and here they were. We've been doing it for really long time. I was following orders.

BOUDREAU: Right. And it is strange to actually listen to someone who has done something like this. So it's hard to listen to these details. But, I mean, he's able to speak about this so matter of factually because he said it was common practice. This is something that they had done. He wasn't the only one. Other workers were given these orders, and something he had done for 10 to 15 years.

COLLINS: What's next?

BOUDREAU: What's next is, I mean, we continue to see if people come forward. There is this investigation by the state and they are going to look into this. And, of course, we're going to keep on this.

COLLINS: Yes, of course.

BOUDREAU: Obviously, we're getting a lot of reaction from this, and we'll continue to follow it.

COLLINS: Well, come back and let us know what happens. I know a lot of people are very curious.

Abbie Boudreau of our special investigations unit.

Thank you.

She enlisted in the military to fight for her country, but nothing could have prepared a mother in Georgia for the vicious beating police say she got in front of her 7-year-old daughter. It happened at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow, Georgia just south of Atlanta.

Police say after she asked this man to be more careful while opening the restaurant door, he went off, punching and kicking her repeatedly while yelling racial slurs.


COMMANDER JIMMY CALLAWAY, MORROW, GEORGIA POLICE: Clearly, a shocking incident to where a man that's twice the size of this female, beats her down in front of the child.

TASHA HILL, BEATING VICTIM: That just really bothers me that she had to see that so I want justice served. I don't want him to -- I don't want him to ever do this to anybody else.


COLLINS: The man is charged with battery and disorderly conduct, as well as cruelty to children. There is surveillance video of this attack, but it has been handed over to the FBI. Not released yet.

Federal agents break up a drug smuggling ring that was allegedly using airline employees to move cocaine into the United States through Puerto Rico. Nine American Airlines employees are among the 23 people arrested. They are accused of bringing in more than 9 tons of drugs over the past ten years. Investigators say baggage handlers and other members of the ground crew carried suit cases stuffed with drugs.

An explosion of violence along the U.S.-Mexican border. A spokesman says this year's drug-related killings in Juarez have already passed 2008 numbers. More than 1600 deaths so far in 2009, including 12 just yesterday. As a result, troops are patrolling the city to deal with the cartel turf war. Juarez is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Overhauling health care. One Democratic Senate leader has a plan. So how will it affect you?

Our Gerri Willis has some answers in a moment.


COLLINS: All right.

Quickly now we want to take you back to health care reform today. Potentially, a pretty big day because we are getting the first look at Senator Max Baucus' idea for health care reform.

Brianna Keilar has been following this story, and will throughout the day.

In fact, Brianna, my understanding is we've got our first look now at the bill.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The bill just came out, Heidi. And this is actually a summary of it -- 17 pages. I mean, this just came out online a few moments ago. The bill is 223 pages. I want to highlight some of the key points in Senator Baucus's proposal. Of course, as expected that health co-opt, the non-profit health cooperative, instead of that government-run insurance option.


KEILAR: That is key in here. As well, ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and health status. And also eliminating annual and lifetime limits on the amount of basically coverage you can get for your health insurance plan. And, of course, another key is expanding Medicaid, so that it covers more low income Americans.

Now, this right here, this summary and the bill that this summary is based on, at this point it does not have Republican support. This is Senator Max Baucus's and Senator Max Baucus's alone. In that significant bid, he doesn't have the buy-in today, but at the same time, Heidi, the negotiations continue.

This is not the do or die day we've been told by both Democrats and Republicans in the so-called Gang of Six. And certainly, if you look at this bill, you will see the discussions that have been going on between Democrats and Republicans, and a lot of the things the Republicans have wanted are really written all over this bill. Their influence very apparent in this bill. And like I said, 223 pages. We're certainly going to be poring over this to bring you all of the details.

COLLINS: In fact, I've just printed it out myself here trying to get a look at it as well. I imagine that as you continue to pore through it along everybody else, we will be able to make it -- make more sense to everybody as we go here.

KEILAR: Exactly.

COLLINS: So, appreciate that Brianna Keilar. We'll come back to you a little bit later on. And once again, 10:00 is when we'll be talking about this live, I understand, with Senator Max Baucus as well.

So moving forward for now, how will Senator Max Baucus's proposed health care reform bill actually affect you.

CNN's personal finance editor Gerri Willis has been looking into that. She's joining us now from New York.

So, Gerri, it's a 17-page summary right now that we have in front of us.

What have you been able to find out?

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: You know, that's a lot of pages. Let's drill down on some of the elements that will affect consumers on this proposal. First, people will be required to have basic health insurance. You couldn't go without insurance. Those lacking could be fined with a maximum penalty of $3800 for middle class families. It would provide tax credits to lower income families so that they could afford to purchase that health insurance. And the plan would also create health insurance exchanges so individuals could sign up through their state per coverage. It would also increase as Brianna said Medicaid, and put a national standard on Medicaid eligibility.

Right now, that's governed by states and sort of different across the country. It would also drop the public option provision, and allow for the creation of what they call non-profit health care cooperatives.


COLLINS: All right. So what are those?

WILLIS: All right.

COLLINS: People are maybe just now trying to, you know, get a better handle on what a coop is.

WILLIS: Well, you've sort of heard the idea before, right?


WILLIS: Agricultural coops, electrical coops, credit unions. And there are already health coops in existence today in places like Seattle and Minneapolis. Coops are set up as non-profit organizations. They say they can provide better coverage at a lower cost for their members. The profits are put back into the system so any money that's earned is used on patients and costs.

Now, patients and coops really run the board. They hold elections, discuss issues, concerns and under this bill, taxpayers would contribute up to $6 billion to coops for start-up costs. It's estimated that coops could ultimately cover 12 million people.


COLLINS: How would life change, though, for people in a coop? I mean, not everybody is in favor of this idea.

WILLIS: Great, question.

For patients, coops work just like private insurance. There are premiums, co-pays and like an HMO, most enrolee see doctors within a network. Health care in a coop would be cheaper than private insurance, but it's not necessarily always less expensive. It really depends on the competition in your market.

For example, group health cooperative in Washington State, that's the last surviving co-op. It's become a kind of prototype for the senator's plan. And while premiums in group help increase at a slower rate compared to competitors, I think you would have to agree that a 12.3 percent annual increase since 2000 is still pretty high. Now one of the highest hurdles to starting up a coop is creating a fairly large network of doctors, so the doctor you used to seeing very well may not be part of that network at first. Keep in mind that if this becomes law, most provisions won't take effect until 2014. So there will be lots of time to work out those details.


COLLINS: All right. Gerri Willis, getting our first look along with all of us here at this summary of Max Baucus's plan. We will continue to read through it.

Thanks so much, Gerri Willis.

WILLIS: My pleasure.

Thank you.

COLLINS: The health care debate and the long-awaited proposal. We have it in our hands. We're taking a closer look at the new plan and new divisions among the Gang of Six negotiators.

Mail inspectors never expected to find this.

You're looking at fossils, 100 million years old and worth a lot on the black market. How this played out between the United States and China, coming up.


COLLINS: A raid by Chinese security forces may have foiled a huge bomb making operation. Security forces carried out the raid in China's volatile Xinjiang region. They arrested six people and seized large amounts of bomb making materials. They say the suspects had begun making bombs after deadly ethnic rioting in the region's capital over the summer.

The United States has handed over precious materials to China. Ancient fossils inspectors found when they were x-raying mail. They include the heads of dinosaurs and a saber-toothed cat.


Josh Levs has been following the story. He joins us now.

What's the deal, Josh?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have you ever gotten to say saber- toothed cat on TV before, Heidi?

COLLINS: I think I actually probably have. I don't want to like (INAUDIBLE), but the chances are high.

LEVS: Well, I haven't so I just did. I love this stuff. This is interesting.

It also does touches -- you have mentioned there a relationship between the U.S. and China. Let's just zoom in, because I want everyone to see what I got here.

This is from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of Department of Homeland Security. That right there is the head of a saber-tooth cat that they believe is 100 million years old. These things along here, they look kind of like Star Treky, but these were heads of little dinosaurs. Again, they say about 100 million years old.

You have some fossils along here, and these potatoey looking things, these are dinosaur eggs that they believe are 60 million years old. We have some video. Let's go to that. And I'll tell you what the deal is here.

You know, when you send mail into the United States, it gets x-rayed and one thing that these folks at ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement have found is that some people are sending in these things. Now, it's not quite clear where they get them, but there is a whole black market of collecting these. So to some extent, it's a big deal. This is part of China's history. And there's been this effort back and forth between the U.S. and China and other nations steadily to try to restore these things back to China. It says something about the history of that land there.

So, Heidi, we have a story up on, I put together the other day in which we describe what some of these fossils are and how this happened, and in a pretty big ceremony the U.S. handed this over to China at the embassy.

COLLINS: I imagine it was a big ceremony. There might be something else sort of at play here when we talk about U.S.-China relations, when we talk about deficit and buying debt, and all of that good stuff. So who knows the undertones there. But it is an interesting story.

Any idea how much all of this is worth?

LEVS: Absolutely.

Yes. Well, you know what, they're saying that the heads over here, this part of the collection, I'll zoom -- I think there's another picture here -- are worth almost about $30,000. And when you look at the dinosaur fossils, you're looking at-- this is the back of the head -- Wow.

When you look at the dinosaur fossils, some of the smaller ones, you're looking at about $30,000 up to $40,000 in some cases. And these -- I just want to see how official it is.

I mean, these are some pictures we have from the ceremony that took place on Monday in which they actually took this and returned it to China. There was a whole signing ceremony that went along with it. And China put out a statement saying that this is a sign of broader cooperation between the United States and the Chinese government. This is something that's very important to China. And in that sense, important to the U.S. And also it does say something about inspections. Because in addition to mail, some of these, these dinosaur eggs were actually found in the luggage of a passenger at Dallas Airport, who is taking them in through a suitcase. No charges were filed, but, Heidi, people who spent money on this anywhere lost every penny they put into it.

So in the end talking big business, black market and government all wrapped up in this story of a 100-million-year-old fossils.

COLLINS: Weird that there were no charges filed, right? Or no?

LEVS: Well, the thing is they can't automatically be sure how someone got it. It's possible the person getting it didn't know it was illegal. But you have a responsibility to look into this and find out. And, ultimately, you're not supposed to take these at all unless you have a certificate documenting that you have been given by the government permission to own these things.


All right. Well, Josh Levs, bringing us the fossil story today.

All right, thank you, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks, Heidi.

COLLINS: We do have an awful lot going on this morning, and CNN crews are in place to break it all down for you.

Let's check in now with our correspondents beginning with Stephanie Elam in New York.

Hi, Stephanie.


Yes, after the debate over health care ramps up, get ready for sticker shock. A new study says premiums are rising faster than inflation and wages, and you're going to be paying more out of pocket. I'll have that at the top of the hour.

LISOVICZ: I'm Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange, where positive economic reports are once again boosting stocks to new highs for the year. This is the nation's biggest automaker says it needs to boost production, again. Heidi, more on that in the next hour.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And I'm Rob Marciano in the CNN severe weather service. Another day of rain in the south, flooding right now in Arkansas. Plus, a super typhoon. A rare event in the Pacific. We'll show you that in the next hour.


COLLINS: All right, great. Thanks, guys.

We will also take a moment to put ourselves under the microscope. The news media hits a new low in public trust. We'll look at the study, and look for answers, too.


COLLINS: If you were wondering what that guy from "The Da Vinci Code" has been up to, he's been snooping around the nation's capitol digging up secrets from the Freemasons.

Dan Brown's latest novel "The Lost Symbol" puts the oldest fraternity in the country in the spotlight. But where does fact end and fiction begin?

Here's CNN's Elaine Quijano.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the actual room and the ceremonial altar where the startling ritual in the opening scene of Dan Brown's new book, "The Lost Symbol," takes place. A secret initiation ceremony inside a building that Freemasons of the Scottish Rite call the House of the Temple. But grand historian Arturo de Hoyos says in this case, truth is definitely more boring than fiction.

ARTURO DE HOYOS, GRAND HISTORIAN, SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY: He has his candidate drinking wine out of a human skull.

QUIJANO: That doesn't take place here?

DE HOYOS: I've never seen it.

QUIJANO: Any wine drinking at all.

DE HOYOS: Not that I'm familiar with.

QUIJANO: De Hoyos says this is a formal meeting room where ceremonies do take place but he explained Freemasonry is not a secret sinister society.

DE HOYOS: Freemasonry is simply the world's oldest and largest fraternity.

QUIJANO: After all, George Washington, the most famous freemason was wearing the ceremonial apron when laying the cornerstone of the Capitol. Still, in a town where conspiracy theories flourish, even the book's arrival was shrouded in some mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sort of serious stuff. State secrets.

QUIJANO: Washington's tourism bureau is fully embracing the novel and all the attention.


NARRATOR: Right in Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP) QUIJANO: Even partnering with a publisher to market the book and city with this video.


NARRATOR: Discover powerful connections as a D.C. insider. Plan your trip to the nation's capital at


QUIJANO: Elliott Ferguson is president of Destination D.C.

ELLIOTT FERGUSON, DESTINATION D.C.: I think the book exposes its readers to a different perspective of Washington, D.C., going into the neighborhoods itself. Also, exposing them to the U.S. Botanical Gardens and the temple on 16th Street.

QUIJANO: As for the Scottish Rite, Arturo de Hoyos is still reading the novel but says so far no harm no foul.

DE HOYOS: As long as people understand that it's a work of fiction, I think everybody will enjoy it.

QUIJANO (on camera): As for tourism, a local trolley company is considering a special tour based on the book. And officials at the Masonic Temple which gives thousands of visitors each year, say they wouldn't be surprised if the number of tourists jumps now that the book is out.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, Washington.